Реферат: Scarlet Letter By Hawthorne Essay Research Paper

Scarlet Letter By Hawthorne Essay, Research Paper

She?s Worth More Than a Diamond Pearls have always held a great price to

mankind, but no pearl had ever been earned at as high a cost to a person as in

Hester Prynne, a powerful Heroine in Nathaniel Hawthorne?s novel The Scarlet

Letter. Her daughter Pearl, born into a Puritan prison in more ways than one, is

an enigmatic character serving entirely as a vehicle for symbolism. From her

introduction as an infant on her mother?s scaffold of shame to the stormy peak

of the story, Pearl is an empathetic and intelligent child. Throughout the story

she absorbs the hidden emotions of her mother and magnifies them for all to see.

Pearl is the essence of literary symbolism. She is at times a vehicle for

Hawthorne to express the inconsistent and translucent qualities of Hester and

Dimmesdale?s unlawful bond at times, and at others a forceful reminder of her

mother?s sin. Pearl Prynne is her mother?s most precious possession and her

only reason to live, but also serves as a priceless treasure purchased with her

life. Pearl?s strange beauty and deeply enigmatic qualities make her the most

powerful symbol Hawthorne has ever created. The product of Hester?s sin and

agony, Pearl, was a painfully constant reminder of her mother?s violation of

the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Hester herself felt

that Pearl was given to her not only as a blessing but a punishment worse than

death or ignominy. She is tormented by her daughter?s childish teasing and

endless questioning about the scarlet letter and it?s relation to Minister

Dimmesdale. After Pearl has created a letter ?A? on her own breast out of

seaweed, she asks her mother: But in good earnest, now, mother dear, what does

this scarlet letter mean? — and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom? — and why

does the minister keep his hand over his heart? In saying this Pearl implies

that she knows much, much more about the scarlet letter than she lets on.

Throughout the conversation Pearl is impish and teasing, saying one thing and

contradicting it soon after. She refuses to say just what she means, which makes

it hard for Hester to give a straight answer. Hester is shocked that her playful

daughter has lead their conversation to the topic of the scarlet letter, and

even more disturbed that she has assumed Hester?s letter and Dimmesdale?s

habit of pressing his hand to his heart a branch from the same issue. Pearl, in

bringing this forbidden and painful subject about, unwittingly inflicts agony

upon her uhappy mother. Hester cannot tell her daughter what has passed between

the minister and herself and come clean. Pearl symbolizes a hidden part of her

mother that has not, and will never be exposed and therefore washed free of sin.

Pearl was always drawn to the ?A?, and seemed to twist the symbolic knife in

Hester?s bosom every time she thought she was free of her burden of sin by

rudely reminding her of the letter and the meaning it bore. Pearl?s

questioning wrenched Hester?s heart when the child seemed to somehow know

about the relationship between Hester and Dimmesdale. Pearl?s precocity

worried Hester constantly. Hester Prynne herself realized that Pearl was unlike

other children, and prayed that she was not sin incarnate. When Hester finally

freed herself of her sin and removed the scarlet letter after years of it?s

leaden weight on her chest, it was little Pearl who brought the reality of her

eternal condemnation back to Hester with a stinging blow. She was ?the scarlet

letter endowed with life?.. Pearl represented the part of Hester to be always

dulled by the searing judgment of others in that she was Hester?s ceaseless

reminder of the sin she had committed, but also symbolized everything about

Hester that was free and alive. Pearl is the only happiness in Hester Prynne?s

lonely life. Without a child to care for, teach, and love, Hester would have

long ago given her soul and life over to evil. When town authorities, shocked at

Pearl?s apparent belief that she was plucked from a rose bush and not created

by God, recommend she be taken from Hester and placed in a school, Hester

responds with the following: ?God gave me this child!… She is my happiness,

she is my torture none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life!…Ye shall not

take her! I will die first!? Pearl, though Hester understands that she was

God-given as a constant reminder or her sin, is her only requited love and a

friend that does not judge her by things past. Later, Hester comments that she

would have ?signed my name in the Black Man?s book too, and that with mine

own blood!? if they had taken Pearl from her. Her daughter is her only earthly

salvation, as well as her only friend. Pearl is a blessing upon Hester in that

her light-heartedness and seeming innocence allow her mother to forget about her

troubles and (to use a Calvin Klein clichй) simply BE. To see Pearl

playing on the beach and creating a fascinating world of her own is to allow

Hester to momentarily throw off the shackles imposed on her by Puritan society

and be truly happy. Another important symbol that makes up Pearl is her

significance as Hester?s only tie to Minister Dimmesdale, her partner in

adultery. Pearl is imbued with an unearthly knowledge about the bond between her

mother and the Minister. While this, in itself, frightens Hester, Pearl is all

that she has of Dimmesdale and she treasures the girl for that. She is the one

who repeatedly demands that he hold hands with Hester and herself in public and

recognize them. Of course, this is the only thing that Dimmesdale can do to save

himself from the misery of guilt, which only goes further to show that Pearl

symbolizes the deep nexus between Hester and the Minister. The Scarlet Letter is

overflowing with masterfully wrought symbolism and representation, but Pearl

Prynne is the purest and deepest symbol in the story. She was born not only out

of utter sin, but out of the deepest and most absolute love imaginable. She

serves as a messenger of God?s salvation through pain, and as a symbol of all

that is blessed and content in Hester Prynne?s life. In the end, it is Pearl

who kisses Arthur Dimmesdale as he lies dying on the scaffold, having admitted

his sin. She breaks a spell that had lain over the dyad in adultery and herself

— the product of their sin –, completing her service as a symbol of pain and

hardship, but more importantly a symbol of love, salvation, and the deep bond

between two lovers condemned by the strict decorum of the Puritan days.

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